Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

August 27, 2013

Duke Energy hosts 20th annual lineman event

By Steven Penn steven.penn@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — PLAINFIELD — Climbing and hanging from utility poles is all in a day’s work for Duke Energy lineman.

On Saturday, the people that make sure area residents have power were able to showcase their skills at the 2013 Lineworkers Rodeo at the Duke Energy Regional Headquarters, 1000 E. Main St., Plainfield.

The 20th annual rodeo took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured four timed contests.

Sally Thelen, Duke Energy event spokesperson, said the rodeo features lineman from Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky competing.

Thelen said was on the most interesting competitions is the pole climb, in which a lineman has to climb a pole with a basket containing an egg in their mouth.

“They take the basket in their mouth, put it on the pole and take the egg out, put the egg in their mouth, make their way down, all while being timed and all being done in a safe manner,” she said. “It’s to show how smooth they do it.”

Another event is called the hurt man rescue.

“There’s a 175 pound life-like dummy (stuck on a pole),” Thelen said. “That is to simulate a lineman that’s been injured on the job or, frankly, in some cases, we’re rescuing members of the public that maybe don’t have the best intentions. (They could be) trying to steal copper or doing other things. Either way, we have to get them off the pole.”

The two other contests are a transformer repair and reinstall and fixing an overhead power line.

In addition to the contests, Thelen said the event had things children would enjoy as well.

“To make it fun for kids, we have face painting, there’s bounce houses, and there’s an amateur pole climb that the kids and family can try on the gear and climb a few steps up a little pole,” she said. “There’s a dunk tank where the executives are over there from Duke. It’s a fundraiser for United Way.”

She added people could also take rides on bucket trucks and operate a crane.

Thelen said the purpose of the event is to give Duke workers a chance to have some fun and to show family and friends what their job entails.

“It’s great for camaraderie. For our crews, this is what they do day-in and day-out, replacing or fixing the power system and making sure everybody’s lights stay on,” she said. “This is a great way to build camaraderie and sportsmanship. A lot of these people don’t get to work together because they’re in different locations for the company. Obviously, Indiana is very spread out. It’s just a great time to bring family, friends, and show them what they’re job is every day.”

She said the top finishers of the contest will also compete at an international level.

“The top performers here will go on to compete in Kansas City in October,” she said. “That’s against all utilities from all over the country. We do have a lot of people that qualify for that, that do very well.”